Tariffs are taxes imposed by government on imported goods to serve as revenues and to restrict trade and protect the domestic producers by making imported goods more expensive.
Quantitative Restrictions (QR), on the other hand, are limits to the amount of goods that may be imported into the country. Like tariffs which affect price, QRs also limit trade and protect local producers by limiting the availability of imported goods.
The Agricultural Tariffication Act (RA 8178), passed in 1996, exempted rice from tariffication. Since joining the WTO in 1995, the Philippines was given permission to maintain its QR on rice. However, studies have shown that the rice QRs have not really been beneficial and the objectives for maintaining them are not being met.
Thus, efforts are being made to amend the 20-year old law to allow the replacement of the QR on rice imports with tariffs. This is deemed beneficial to consumers, even for rice farmers, many of whom are net consumers of rice. Among the advantages of replacing QRs with tariffication are reduction in rice prices which would make rice more affordable to consumers, help reduce inflation, and increase household savings through lower rice expenditure. Furthermore, the revenues from rice tariffs may fund programs to help our rice farmers diversify their incomes and be more competitive.
For more information on the advantages of amending RA 8178, please click here.